How To Understand the History of Gymnastics

Gymnastics is a sport for the lithe, graceful, and balanced.  It is performed on specially designed equipment and is competitive.  The history of gymnastics is rich and goes back over 2000 years, however it is only in the last 100 years that is has gained notoriety in the field of competition.

Gymnastics originally dates back to the world of Ancient Greece.  Many of the properties evidenced in the sport of gymnastics were also good skills in the art of war.  Therefore, during the Roman Empire there was special consideration given to the warriors of gymnastic training.  They were taught how to quickly tumble, mount, and use gymnastic methods to better themselves as warriors.

Friedrich Ludwig Jahn introduced several of the bars that became essential accessories to the world of modern gymnastics.  He was named the "father of gymnastics" for his great contributions which included parallel bars, horizontal bars, balance beam, vaulting horse, and a side horse with pommels.

The United States began its first gymnastic programs in the 19th century.  Not long after this, the US also began implementing gymnastic exercises in their military training programs.  As technology improved and the need for one on one combat lessened, this program slowly phased out and training for new technology has become more vital in our military systems.

The first modern Olympic Games held in 1896, included gymnastics as a competitive sport.  Women were not included until the 1920's when in 1928 at Amsterdam a woman's competition was held.  There was only one event for women at that time and it was synchronized calisthenics.  The gymnastics for women improved and a full course of competition was on the platter of the 1952 Olympics.  Two years later, the modern scoring techniques seen today were put into practice.  Events in the gymnastic division began to get scores or points based on 1-10 by a round of judges.

The history of Gymnastics carries several rich cultural ties to several different countries around the world.  The sport has evolved over time and with developments such as bars and equipment.  The competition in the sport can be fierce and boys and girls begin training very early if they hope to compete.  Training is also encouraged on youngsters for them to enjoy just for the sport itself.  In addition to having a great deal of fun learning the routines, they also gain the benefit of physical fitness.  Many centers offer gymnastic training all around the world.


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